(p. C4) Two economists looked at the achievements of 453,000 students who took a basic-skills test upon entering both two- and four-year public colleges in Texas in the 1990s. . . .
. . . the authors focused on the 93,000 students who either barely passed or barely failed the test. Those students, with nearly identical skills, got treated very differently: Most who barely failed took remedial courses; most who barely passed took college-level courses.
But there was no difference in subsequent achievement between those two groups. In fact, students who got remedial help were slightly less likely to finish one year of college. The study found no effects of remediation on income seven years after starting college.
For the full story, see:
CHRISTOPHER SHEA. “Week in Ideas; Education; Remedial Ed Needs Help.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., February 5, 2011): C4.
(Note: ellipses added.)
The article summarized in the passages quoted above, is:
Martorell, Paco, and Isaac McFarlin, Jr. “Help or Hindrance? The Effects of College Remediation on Academic and Labor Market Outcomes.” Review of Economics and Statistics 93, no. 2 (May 2011): 436-54.